Your provisional licence
Before you can drive on a public road or take your theory test, you will need a valid Provisional Driving Licence. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) application form (Form D1) can be obtained from your local Post Office but you can also apply online from the official 'Gov UK' site.
Once you have your licence and are ready to start your lessons, you will need to provide proof that you have a valid licence.
You can apply for your provisional licence up to 3 months before your 17th Birthday but it will not be valid until you actually turn 17 so you will not be able to take lessons on a public road, or take your theory test until then.
You can apply for your first British provisional driving licence online if you:
- Are a resident of Great Britain.
- Meet the minimum age requirement.
- Can meet the minimum eyesight requirement.
- Are currently not prevented from driving for any reason.
- Can pay by Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Electron, Delta or Solo debit or credit card.
- Have a valid UK passport or another form of identity.
- Can provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years.
As a photo is required for your licence the DVLA can use your passport photo if you have one. If you don't have one, or you want to use a different one, this will need to be sent to the DVLA separately.
You can find costs for all licence types here.
The Theory Test
You may already be taking lessons or even be ready to take your practical test but you can not apply for your practical test until you have passed the theory test.
The theory test is made up of two parts; a multiple choice questionnaire and a hazard perception video test. You will need to pass both parts to get your certificate.
Find your local theory test centre here.
Only once you have passed this can you apply to take your practical driving test.
Theory Test Multiple Choice Questions
The actual theory test questions are no longer published which means that those found in revision materials of any kind will give you an idea of the questions and answers to expect but will NOT be exactly the same as those you will face during the test itself.
This change was introduced to ensure you gain a better understanding of driving theory rather than simply memorising questions and answers.
Before you start the hazard perception part of the test, you'll be shown a short video clip about how it works before being shown a series of video clips on a computer screen. The clips
feature everyday road scenes and contain at least one developing hazard - but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards.
A developing hazard is something that may result in you having to take some action, such as changing speed or direction and what you need to do is identify these as early as possible to get as high a score as possible (max 5 per clip).
Book your theory test.
The Practical Test
Once your driving has reached a suitable level, you will want to get your driving test booked. The timescale for bookings can vary one month to the next depending on the number of other learners applying around the same time. You should not just go ahead and book the test before checking that a car will be available first!
During the 'independent driving' section of the test you will be asked to follow a Sat Nav or, one in 5 tests will follow road signs for around 20 minutes to see how well you deal with driving without being prompted by your examiner.
Book your practical test . Please note you should always check with your instructor before doing this yourself.
Go to the official Gov site for more information on the practical driving test and many other aspects involved in learning to drive.